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Time for industry to reduce biodiversity loss: McKinsey

Jul '20
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
Post-COVID-19, people now understand more deeply that human and animal ecosystems are interdependent. Hence, it’s now time for the apparel industry, which to date has contributed heavily to biodiversity loss, to now make bold moves in the opposite direction and reduce biodiversity loss, according to American management consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

But while much has been written about the fashion industry’s impact on climate change, less well known and well covered is the industry’s heavy footprint on biodiversity. "The apparel industry is a significant contributor to biodiversity loss. Apparel supply chains are directly linked to soil degradation, conversion of natural ecosystems, and waterway pollution," authors Anna Granskog, Franck Laizet, Miriam Lobis, and Corinne Sawers write in their article 'Biodiversity: The next frontier in sustainable fashion'.

Based on their analysis, the authors have identified the apparel sector’s five largest contributors to biodiversity loss. They are cotton agriculture, wood-based natural fibres/man-made cellulose fibres (MMCFs), textile dyeing and treatment, microplastics, and waste.

It is good news that apparel companies have started to pay attention to this issue—and have the power to truly move the needle. While apparel companies can take numerous potential actions that could be relevant and synergistic, each action will come with trade-offs.

The article suggests that apparel companies should prioritise four high-impact strategic interventions: scale up innovative materials and processes, take an aggressive stance against waterway pollution, lead the way in education and empowering consumers, and relentlessly pursue zero waste.

Click here to read the complete McKinsey article

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (RKS)

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June 2021

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